Is SumaiL the player that OG is looking for?
A team and player name combo few thought would ever come to fruition. In OG’s quest to become a classic Dota 2 anime series, they saw fit to recruit their newest addition from the rivals that they lost two of their own to--albeit this time, Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan had already left the active roster on Evil Geniuses.
While SumaiL returns a top-tier talent, several questions still surrounds OG’s new roster. Sure, they have won two Internationals back-to-back, but three integral cogs in the machine have retired (Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka), stepped back into an administrative role (Sébastien "Ceb" Debs), or taking a break for one whole year (Anathan “ana” Pham).
With just Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen left in the new OG squad, will SumaiL fit in or fall flat?
OG has attracted superstars for years. While the best player to have ever worn an OG uniform would be an interesting, and ultimately fruitless argument, SumaiL is likely the most accomplished person to put the crest on his chest as an OG recruit.
Joining in the scene at just 15 years of age, SumaiL has drawn eyes and ears to his gameplay and aggrandizing grandstanding since his debut. He’s backed up his claims readily, however, winning the first tournament he ever went to, the Dota Asia Champions in 2015, quickly followed by his debut at TI5 and claiming the Aegis on his first try.
If people needed a reminder of his skill, once his stint with EG and Quincy Crew ended, he set his heart on conquering the pub scene. It was a piece of cake for SumaiL, who grinded his way to the very top of the leaderboards in the American region. It might just be pubs, but when SumaiL puts his mind to something, it’s rare that he doesn’t end up at the zenith.
While he’s had no luck with claiming a second Aegis, SumaiL is no stranger to championships and trophies. An illustrious, five-year career with EG proved just that. He should fit right in with the winners at OG.
Can SumaiL play position one?
While his transition to carry only began at the onset of the season, SumaiL’s penchant for a greedier playstyle, even when he was the mid laner for EG, should see him transition well to the carry role.
OG can look towards their own track record at converting mid players into premier carries. Both Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi and ana began their careers as mid pubstars, before being converted into two of the best playmakers and carries that Dota 2 has to offer.
Plus, Topson remains with OG. Topson is possible the best space creator from the mid lane, especially on his signature heroes Monkey King, Invoker, and Tiny. SumaiL can rest easy in the fact that at the very least, Topson will be there to throw his life away to buy space for the team.
With SumaiL’s skills and OG’s track record, the mid superstar should find it easier to adapt his playstyle than with any other team.
Deep hero pool
One of OG’s biggest strengths in their championship runs was the deep hero pools that each player had. Picked Io? Is it going to N0tail, JerAx, or the as-yet-undefeated ana? Nature’s Prophet? Ceb or N0tail? Tiny? Topson or JerAx? The list was never-ending.
This strength in versatility allowed the team to pick heroes they thought were strong, or fit their playstyle, while not putting a role to them. This was especially prevalent with JerAx and Topson’s Tiny through the TI9 grand finals vs. Team Liquid, both of whom were fully capable of messing up their opponents from their respective positions.
Even with SumaiL transitioning to carry, his deep hero pool will help carry over to his safe lane duties. Several mid heroes he’s been famous on can easily transition to the safe lane, such as Ember Spirit, Morphling, and Leshrac.
Plus, judging from the recent Major, the mid lane matchup has become all-important in securing the mid-game tempo. Teams have taken to switching lanes and roles around based purely on matchups, such as switching a Outworld Devourer or Razor to the safe lane to prevent a poor laning stage.
OG’s hallmark has been their belligerent, never-say-never playstyle that saw them frustrate and needle opponents ceaselessly. While those roles were usually reserved for Topson and JerAx, some of OG’s most dominant performances at TI9 was when ana handled playmaking duties on heroes such as Ember Spirit and Faceless Void.
For a player who has reached 1000 kills at The International in just five years, SumaiL will certainly continue to light it up.
The King himself
For all of SumaiL’s strengths as a player, there’s one big question mark above his head as he joins OG, the epitome of flowers and friendship.
Can SumaiL keep his ego in check?
SumaiL is a superstar. With it comes the ego and the cocky persona that he’s made no effort to keep under wraps.
Maybe five years of experience has changed him. Maybe five years since an Aegis will motivate him to do better. Or maybe it all meant nothing, and OG will implode at TI10. After all, while OG’s recent victories are fresh, it won’t be the first time that they enter TI as favorites and proceeded to crumble under the pressure.
Even with his perceived flaws, SumaiL was the best free agent available on the market. Cockiness isn’t a bad thing--Ceb harnessed the energy like Sir Alex Ferguson did with Manchester United, turning it into an us vs. them and pushing the squad onwards and upwards.
While there are still a few questions about the squad and some tough shoes to fill in the offlane and support position, SumaiL is the ultimate recruit with experience, pedigree, and perhaps most importantly, a furious hunger to hold aloft the Aegis of Champions once again. And honestly, what better way to do it than the only players in the world to have done it twice?
Image via OG Esports | Twitter